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12-hour barbecue beef brisket

"Texas is world-renowned for barbecuing a mean brisket, the flat and fatty slab of meat, cut from the cow's lower chest," says Stone. "Cooking a simply seasoned brisket low and slow on a smoker (or kettle barbecue when barbecuing at home), gradually rendering the gummy white fat while simultaneously infusing smoky flavour into the meat, is a labour of love. Although time-consuming, briskets are not difficult to cook. And while you'll note that this one takes a whopping 12 hours to cook, don't be alarmed if your brisket needs another hour or so - this timing is an approximation, and greatly depends on the size of your brisket and heat of your barbecue." The brisket can also be cooked in an oven (see note).

Prego rolls

"This is a Mozambican specialty and one of the foods that changed my life in terms of African cuisine," says Duncan Welgemoed. "The best spot to get a prego roll in South Africa is the Radium Beerhall. It's run by my godfather, Manny, and is the oldest pub in Jo'burg. The meats are grilled out the back by Mozambican staff and are still done the same way today as they were 30 years ago." Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the beef.

Lebanese-style snapper

"This dish is Lebanese-peasant done fancy with all the peasant-style flavours you'll find in Lebanese cooking, but with a beautiful piece of fish added," says Bacash. "The trick to not overcooking fish is to be aware that it cooks from the outside inwards and the centre should only cook until it's warm, not hot. If it gets hot in the middle, it will become overcooked from the residual heat. It takes a little practise getting to know this - be conscious of the inside of the fish and not the outside. Until you get it right, you can always get a little paring knife and peek inside the flesh when you think it's ready; it won't damage it too much."

Coleslaw

"Store-bought and pre-cut coleslaws, and bottled dressings have given the humble slaw a lacklustre rep over the years," says Stone. "Taking a little time (just 10 minutes!) to whip one up yourself reminds us why this salad became popular in the first place. This creamy, crunchy coleslaw comes together in a pinch and can be piled atop a thick piece of brisket or served as a side."

Duck confit


You'll need

100 gm sea salt 2 golden shallots, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tsp thyme leaves 8 duck legs (about 2kg) 1.5 kg canned duck or goose fat

Method

  • 01
  • Combine salt, shallot, garlic and thyme in a bowl.
  • 02
  • Place duck in a single layer in a non-reactive dish, scatter salt mixture over and rub well all over duck. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
  • 03
  • Brush excess salt mixture from duck, pat dry with absorbent paper and place in a single layer in a deep roasting pan.
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 100C. Warm duck fat in a saucepan over low heat until just melted, then pour over duck legs until completely submerged. Bake until very tender and just beginning to fall from the bone (1-1½ hours).
  • 05
  • Scatter a little salt in the base of an earthenware casserole. Remove duck from fat, place in a single layer in casserole and strain over duck fat to cover completely by at least 2cm. Cover and refrigerate until required.

Note You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.


Confit de canard is one of the great classics of French cooking, yet it stems from a very pragmatic centuries-old method of preserving food. While the technique originated in Gascony, it was quickly adopted by the rest of France. The technique was born of necessity, but has changed little over time, and the textures and flavours it produces has Francophiles the world over rapt in its sublimely salty, meltingly tender qualities.

Duck legs, which are almost always sold as the drumstick with the thigh attached, are cured for up to a day and a half in a mixture of salt and garlic (we also include golden shallots and thyme for extra flavour). This draws moisture from the duck and adds flavour. An approximate ratio is 50gm salt to 1kg duck legs. The salt is then brushed from the meat, which is patted dry and placed in a deep roasting pan just large enough to fit the legs snugly.

The next step requires quite a lot of duck or goose fat - enough to completely submerge the duck legs. In a classic household or working kitchen situation, this fat would have been accumulated over time by rendering it down from whole birds. To render fat yourself, heat pieces of duck fat in a saucepan with two to three tablespoons of water until the fat melts and becomes clear. If you're buying the legs on their own, though, you'll also need to buy canned fat. Duck and goose fat are typically imported from France (though some shops sell locally made fat) and are available from good delicatessens. Even if you do use a whole duck, Australian birds are less fatty than the French, so it's likely you'll need to supplement the rendered fat with canned product.

Long, slow cooking is essential to produce the tender meat you're after. Some cooks like to do it on the stovetop, but it can be difficult to maintain the steady low temperature required. A more reliable method is to cook it at the lowest temperature your oven will go, ideally 90-100C. When the meat draws back from the bone, the duck is ready. Remove the duck legs from the fat with a slotted spoon and place them in an earthenware or cast-iron casserole. Sprinkling a little salt inside first will prevent the meat juices from becoming sour when they settle to the bottom. Ladle the clear fat over the duck legs, ensuring they're are completely submerged by at least 2cm - it's the fat that acts as the barrier against air and spoilage - then refrigerate for up to a month.

When you want to use the duck, warm the casserole gently until the fat softens enough to remove the pieces you need, then crisp them in a heavy-based frying pan over high heat until golden and warmed through.

Traditionally the fat left over from one confit is used to make the next, adding depth of flavour, but it has other, far tastier uses too. You can use a little duck fat to brown a joint of meat before roasting or braising, imparting extra flavour. Or toss robust root vegetables in some duck fat heated in a roasting pan for the best roast veg you can imagine - think Jerusalem artichokes or thick wedges of pumpkin.

A traditional accompaniment to confit de canard is pommes de terre à la Sarladaise - sliced potatoes crisped in hot duck fat until golden brown. Potatoes cooked in this manner are seriously good eating, whatever you choose to serve them with.

For a lighter take on duck confit, toss it warm through a salad, as we have here. Crisp bitter greens and a mustard-spiked vinaigrette cut through the rich fattiness of the duck, while earthy baby beetroot and fresh young green beans mean you can kid yourself into thinking it's even good for you.

And there's the rub with confit - it's rich and it wouldn't get a tick from the Heart Foundation, but we love it just the same.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Jul 2009

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